Today, Michigan regulators vote on conservative education "reform" plan to purge the word "democracy" from curriculum

Former Michigan Republican State Senator Patrick Colbeck has put together an ambitious, far-ranging educational "reform" package that is being voted on today by the Michigan State Board of Education. Read the rest

Thousands of Wisconsinites turn out to protest outgoing Republicans' plan to seize power after electoral defeat

8 years after Scott Walker and his Koch-backed GOP used voter suppression and gerrymandering to steal control over Wisconsin, Wisconsites finally pried his crooked ass out of the governor's chair, but Walker and Co want to blow up the state on their way out. Read the rest

This month, the climate-denyingist red state AGs lost their jobs to Dems: time to sue the US government

Republican state AGs were in the majority...until this months election, when the majority flipped, with the most climate-denying AGs (in Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin and Nevada) losing their jobs to Dems who ran on strong environmental platforms. Read the rest

America's big box stores sucked up corporate welfare and killed Main Street -- now they're ducking property tax

For a generation, big box stores have swept across America, using predatory pricing and other dirty tricks to kill the independent retail sector; they used their corporate lobbying muscle to tempt cities and towns into handing out massive corporate welfare checks to lure them to town, and now, with the help of hustling contingency lawyers, they are promulgating a property-tax scam called "the dark store theory" that is cutting their taxes in half or more, with further reductions every year, and no end in sight. Read the rest

Felons, Nazis: Michigan is occupied by an army of 3,000 armed, unregulated "police reservists"

Michigan's brilliant businessman governor Rick Snyder has slashed the state's budget over and over, in service to an electorate who would vote for a smear of roadkill if it would promise to knock a dollar off their tax-bills. Read the rest

Undetectably bypass voting machines' anti-tamper mechanism with a bit of a soda-can

When security researchers report on the ghastly defects in voting machines, the officials who bought these machines say dismiss their concerns by saying that the tamper-evident seals they put around the machines prevent bad guys from gaining access to their internals. Read the rest

A book made from shelf-stable American cheese slices

The University of Michigan's library recently acquired a copy of American Cheese, 20 Slices, by Ben Denzer, a book made from shelf-stable, plastic-wrapped slices of American cheese. Read the rest

A 17-year-old is leading Michigan's Right to Repair movement

Surya Raghavendran started fixing phones when Apple tried to charge him $120 to fix the defective screen they'd installed in his phone; instead, he followed online instructional videos and fixed it himself. Read the rest

Kalamazoo criminalizes homelessness, arrests city commissioner and other activists

Mike DeWaele writes, "A group of homeless activists had maintained a peaceful occupation of Bronson Park in Kalamazoo for about a month in protests of a new ordinance that made it illegal to sleep in public parks. The protest was well organized, clean and well maintained- at one point involving up to 200 homeless citizens and their supporters, with extensive logistical support from the larger community. The protest had clearly articulated demands but the City Comission was willing to address them only on a very superficial level, with no comitment to action, and then only after weeks of public pressure. While the talks were still ongoing, the city manager ordered local police to clear the camp, which happened before his morning. Several homeless and other activists refused to vacate, including city commissioner Shannon Sykes, who had been the lone voice on the commission in (passionate) support of the encampment and who had spent several nights with the protest as a supporter and observer. Those activists have all been arrested on as yet unknown charges." Read the rest

Woman arrested for arguing over Chinese food order, then biting restaurant owner's ear

In Michigan, a woman was arrested on charges that she bit off part of a man's ear, while she was fighting with him at a Chinese restaurant over food she'd ordered. The victim does not speak English as a first language, and had a hard time communicating. The woman who attacked him immediately lost custody of her child as a consequence. Read the rest

Blue Cross employees are instructed to donate to the boss's daughter, a "Democrat" who opposes single-payer

Gretchen Whitmer wants to be the Democratic governor of Michigan, and she has distinguished herself from her opponents Abdul El-Sayed, and Shri Thanedar by opposing single-payer healthcare and endorsing the broken, expensive, murderous private system, a subject she has deep expertise in thanks to being raised by Richard Whitmer, who built the family fortune during his 18-year tenure as president of Blue Cross of Michigan. Read the rest

Charter told a family their new house was ready for internet, then sent them a $16,000 bill to activate it

Oh, Charter: Chad Pierce and his family bought a house in Newaygo, Michigan, but first they called their local cable monopoly, Charter/Spectrum, and confirmed verbally, online and in writing that the new house could get internet access. Read the rest

11,341 abandoned rape kits identify 817 serial rapists in one Michigan county

In Michigan's Wayne County, Prosecutor Kym Worthy has spent years processing 11,341 rape kits. The kits, found in 2009, were forgotten in a police storage warehouse, where they were routinely dumped without investigation.

Over 800 serial rapists, criminals who have struck 10-15 times without being stopped, were identified. 127 convictions have been made this far.

The Detroit Free Press' Nancy Kaffer interviewed Worthy:

Q: All the things you were talking about, the better tracking system, the new guidelines for when rape kits get tested ... in the National Institute of Justice report on the backlog (by Michigan State University Professor Rebecca Campbell), the big takeaway there was that too often, officers didn't believe victims, and had used disbelief as a way to triage their workload.

A: They just closed cases, even cases where I think they believed the victim ... They closed cases because the women had worked as prostitutes or had mental illness issues or had substance abuse. Didn't believe them, didn't care, and this was one issue that led to the backlog of these kits.

Q: That's something we look for in certain victims — when the victim is a teenage boy of color, or a woman who has been raped, we want them to be perfect. They can't have had a drink or have worked as a prostitute, and if they have, there's a mindset that makes them almost ineligible to be a victim.

A: One of the reasons we have these untested rape kits ... and I can use Detroit as an example, 86% of our victims in these untested kits are people of color.

Read the rest

12 Michigan cops, looking for a 40-year-old white woman, draw guns on 11 year old black girl and put her in cuffs

A dozen Michigan cops from Grand Rapids broke into a family home and rushed an 11 year old black girl, pointing guns at her and cuffing her while her terrified mother begged them not to shoot her. Read the rest

Judge awards Michigan repeat rapist joint custody of child he fathered

A Michigan repeat rapist was awarded joint custody of the child he impregnated one of his victims with 8 years ago.

Via Patch Michigan:

A Michigan man accused of raping a 12-year-old nine years ago has been awarded joint custody of the child he fathered in the attack, according to media reports. The victim’s attorney is fighting the decision by Sanilac County Circuit Judge Gregory S. Ross under the federal Rape Survivor Custody Act. The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Michigan and perhaps the nation.

In a new development Tuesday, Ross stayed the controversial order in the case against Christopher Mirasolo, 27, of Brown City, after widespread outrage, The Detroit News reported. A hearing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 17.

The case has been poorly handled from the beginning, Rebecca Kiessling, the attorney for the now 21-year-old woman has said. Mirasolo was arrested about a month after the incident when the girl found out she was pregnant, but he took a plea deal for a lesser charge: third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

A rape conviction would have put Mirasolo behind bars for anywhere from 25 years to life. Instead, Mirasolo served only six-and-a-half months in the county jail. The girl and her family were told the plea deal was offered and that first-time sex offenders don’t get prison time “because people come out worse after they go there,” Kiessling told The Detroit News.

After Mirasolo was released from jail, he raped again and served four years in prison, according to “The Steve Gruber Show,” a Lansing-area radio program that initially reported the judge’s decision.

Read the rest

This Michigan-shaped Adirondack chair dispenses cold beverage cans

Woodworker Matt Thompson has been making Adirondack chairs in the shape of Michigan, the lower peninsula at least, for a few years. Recently, he added the state's upper peninsula to the chair's overall design in the form of a beer/soda can cooler and dispenser.

From Michigan-based site Mlive:

The chair is made of cedar, and Thompson estimates he spent somewhere between $400-500 in wood to create it.

"It's not very practical to sell this or mass produce this," Thompson said.

The holding chamber can hold a full six pack of 12-ounce cans. The ice contained will keep the cans chilled for approximately eight hours, Thompson said. There's a full drainage system that prevents the ice from spilling down the chute.

"Cedar is a good insulator," Thompson said.

(reddit) Read the rest

Foxconn has a long history of lying about its plans to open plants and create jobs

Foxconn has wrung a promise of $3 billion in corporate welfare from the state of Wisconsin, but even that is no guarantee that it will open a factory there, even if it swears up and down that this is in the cards. Read the rest

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